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Old 03-10-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
srferson
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St Thomas/St John Snorkeling Excursions

DH and I (thirties, no kids) are going on the Eastern Caribbean cruise in May. We know we want to do one of these three excursions, but are having a hard time choosing. Input would be great.

Castaway Catamaran Sail and Snorkel (7:30a or 12:00p)
Captain Nautica Snorkeling Expedition (7:30a or 11:30a)
Doubloon Turtle Cove Sail and Snorkel (8:00a)

So, for boats our order of preference is
1) Doubloon
2) Castaway's Catamaran
3) Nautica's RIB

But our order of preference for stops is
1) Nautica goes to both Turtle Cove and Shipwreck Cove.
2) Doubloon goes to Turtle Cove, which sounds cool to me because there are so many reports about how many turtles there are and how close they are. But maybe there are turtles at Shipwreck Cove too?
3) Castaway goes to Shipwreck Cove, which sounds somewhat cool though we don't know what to expect there and how interesting it is.

For excursion times our preference is later rather then early. We aren't generally morning people, though we are more than capable of getting up on time and enjoying ourselves once we're out and about so the 8:00a is still an option.

By the way, does anyone know how there can be 7:30 starting times when the ashore time starts at 7:45 or 8:00?

Thoughts?
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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The time they give you is the meeting time. Not the time you will actually leave the ship.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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Can't recommend any of those, but for what it's worth, we did the Champagne Catamaran to Honeymoon Beach at St. John.

The bay was great as you could only access it by National Park hiking trails or by boat.

We saw sea turtles, sting rays, a barracuda and lots of colorful fish. It was a great excursion and I'd do it again.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:49 PM   #4
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We signed up for the St. John Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel for our cruise in a couple of weeks. I've read great things about it, and I liked that there is the option to spend time on the beach for those who are not avid snorkelers (my 9yo DD). If we were going without DD, I would have signed up for the Full Day Caribbean Sail & Snorkel to Turtle Cove & Honeymoon Beach. All the reviews I've read of that excursion are very positive.

I'm sorry I don't have any experience with the three you're considering!
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:21 PM   #5
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We are doing the Doubloon one in a couple of weeks. I picked it based on previous posts on here. I will try to remember to post here after we get back.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:38 PM   #6
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The earlier you get to turtle cove the better. I have not been to shipwreck cove, but turtle cove was great. We took the Caribbean Sea Safari, Snorkeling and Beach Tour, and got to turtle cove first before any of the other boats. The best snorkeling was the first half hour while we were there alone. We stayed there only an hour and then went to Honeymoon beach on Water island (not a great snorkeling area, but a great beach).

I think any of the tours will be good if you have not snorkeled in the area. The first Nautica excursion sounds the best if you are really into snorkeling.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:39 AM   #7
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We have cruised Disney to the Eastern Caribbean twice and since we love that itinerary so much, especially the chance to go to St. John, we are going again in December. On our first cruise we did a DCL excursion that included snorkeling and a stop at Cinnamon Bay on St. John. On our second trip, we brought our own snorkel gear (in part because of our dislike for sharing mouthpieces) and went to St. John on our own. We arrived at Trunk Bay 40 minutes before the Disney excursion arrived and we were able to stay almost an hour after they left. In all we got three hours on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with fantastic snorkeling, all at a lower cost than the organized excursion.

We are doing the same thing again with my SIL and family this year.

Just off the ship you can catch a taxi (minivan) to Red Hook at the eastern end of St. Thomas, from there the ferry (leaves every hour on the hour) takes you to Cruz Bay on St. John, then an open air taxi to the beach. We were off the ship and to Red Hook in time for the 9:00 am ferry and caught the 1:00 ferry back.

Round trip transportation and fee to enter Trunk Bay, a national park, is about $50 per person plus tips.


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Old 03-11-2013, 12:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDC Nala View Post
The time they give you is the meeting time. Not the time you will actually leave the ship.
Well, that makes sense. Shoulda been able to figure that out myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LKShep View Post
We have cruised Disney to the Eastern Caribbean twice and since we love that itinerary so much, especially the chance to go to St. John, we are going again in December. On our first cruise we did a DCL excursion that included snorkeling and a stop at Cinnamon Bay on St. John. On our second trip, we brought our own snorkel gear (in part because of our dislike for sharing mouthpieces) and went to St. John on our own. We arrived at Trunk Bay 40 minutes before the Disney excursion arrived and we were able to stay almost an hour after they left. In all we got three hours on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with fantastic snorkeling, all at a lower cost than the organized excursion.

We are doing the same thing again with my SIL and family this year.

Just off the ship you can catch a taxi (minivan) to Red Hook at the eastern end of St. Thomas, from there the ferry (leaves every hour on the hour) takes you to Cruz Bay on St. John, then an open air taxi to the beach. We were off the ship and to Red Hook in time for the 9:00 am ferry and caught the 1:00 ferry back.

Round trip transportation and fee to enter Trunk Bay, a national park, is about $50 per person plus tips.
Sounds great, but this is only our second cruise, I didn't do any excursions on our first one, I've never snorkeled, and we know nothing about the islands... So I think we'll probably put out the extra dollars to go with Disney this time.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDC Nala View Post
The time they give you is the meeting time. Not the time you will actually leave the ship.
And this is one reason we choose the Doubloon excursion, 8 am.

This excursion has two choices. Half day and full day. We did the half day due to young kids.
(only turtle cove) You guys should do the full day, which continues to a beautiful beach head for lunch, etc.
http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cr...neymoon-beach/

You guys need beach time. This port stop is short. So ....

This excursion was awesome, as were the folks in charge.

Have you found this thread? http://www.disboards.com/showthread....xcursions+here

Last edited by Bear3412; 03-11-2013 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:57 AM   #10
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I'm so glad to hear that the full day snorkel was worth it! We are going on this excursion in a couple of months and it will be our first snorkel trip ever. Will we need any cash? Would you recommend water shoes?
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:09 AM   #11
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.... Will we need any cash? Would you recommend water shoes?
Cash, only for tips to crew, Or a T-shirt. OK some cash say $50 if you have some.

Water shoes, IMO, no need. Unless you need protection from the sun for the feet tops.

My feet tops roast in the tropics. Once I wrapped my feet in towels on the beach and looked like a fool, but my feet didn't burn anymore.

I've also worn socks on the beach to protect me feet.

Gotta do what you gotta do.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:19 AM   #12
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FWIW, I ADORED the Doubloon when we went. Enough that I would happily do it again the next time we're able to book an Eastern. We got to sail on the Bones ship the day we did it in December 2010. Definitely the best excursion I've ever been on, hands down. The crew was wonderful and made sure everyone had a blast. (And the free alcohol after certainly didn't hurt anything!)
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:57 AM   #13
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I've done the Doubloon 5 times now on DCL, and have loved every trip on it so far. Excellent crew, great snorkeling, drinks are awesome, everyone gets a pirate tat that somehow lasts for weeks!

It's by far the best bang for your buck excursion!
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear3412 View Post
And this is one reason we choose the Doubloon excursion, 8 am.

This excursion has two choices. Half day and full day. We did the half day due to young kids.
(only turtle cove) You guys should do the full day, which continues to a beautiful beach head for lunch, etc.
http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cr...neymoon-beach/

You guys need beach time. This port stop is short. So ....

This excursion was awesome, as were the folks in charge.

Have you found this thread? http://www.disboards.com/showthread....xcursions+here
You're talking about Full Day Caribbean Sail & Snorkel to Turtle Cove & Honeymoon Beach, right? Already sold out.

Edit: Sorry. I missed the link the first time. So, yes, I see that is definitely the one you're talking about.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:35 PM   #15
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We did the Doubloon and Capt. Nautica, but not the catamaran. The Doubloon goes to Turtle Cove. You go into the water from the boat. It is a great trip and lots of fun for adults and kids. The Capt. Nautica excursion was on a much faster boat, like the Navy Seals use. They beat everyone to Turtle Cove. We had snorkeled and were ready to leave when the other excursions got there. We went to the other side of Buck Island to where there was a ship wreak to snorkel. There were others there too. After the time there, we went to a private island to snorkel or just enjoy the beach. It was fun. You get to go to 3 places, where the Doubloon goes to only the one place. The Doubloon goes slower with some fun staff for the kids.
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